Don’t write the Heat off just yet — they stole Game 2 in Denver to tie the series 1-1 and seize the home-court advantage. After that surprising outcome, how does Game 3 shake out? Bettors should read this because we have a complete NBA betting preview, plus three free picks for Game 3. We're confident each of these picks will have bettors cashing so stick with us!
- What: NBA Finals Game 3
- Who: Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets
- When: Wednesday, June 7
- Where: Miami, Florida
NBA Finals Game 3 Preview
We’ll preview Game 3 momentarily, but we must first mention Games 1 and 2 first. Miami looked like a completely different team in each of those. In Game 1, they resembled the eighth seed that narrowly won its play-in game. By that, we mean a team undeserving of being in the Finals as the Nuggets handily beat them. The Heat, one of the worst three-point-shooting teams in the regular season (just a 34.4 shooting percentage), struggled to hit shots in the Finals opener.
Welp, in Game 2, they hit threes — and a lot of ‘em too. Miami knocked down 17 from deep, with one-third of them coming from role-playing contributors Max Strus and Duncan Robinson. Replicating that type of shooting is the Heat’s key to victory because let’s be honest, they don’t have nearly as many playmakers as the Nuggets do.
That playmaking starts and ends with Nikola Jokic. The two-time MVP has been near unstoppable as a scoring threat — 34 points per game on 60 percent shooting. But Denver wants him to match that with his passing ability. In Game 2, he had only four assists, more than three below his average. This Nuggets attack just isn’t as scary when Jokic isn’t picking defenses apart with his passes and setting up teammates.
Credit to Miami and head coach Erik Spoelstra for adjusting in Game 2. He started Kevin Love in Game 2 and chose not to double-team Jokic throughout the matchup. The strategy forced the Nuggets' other offensive threats — Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — to beat the Heat. Welp, they didn’t, shooting a meager 10-of-27 from the field. One has to believe Miami will stick to that game plan in Game 3 back in its arena.
Best Bets Of NBA Finals Game 3
While there’s a plethora of NBA Finals Game 3 bets available, we’re sticking to these three with our hard-earned money:
Over/Under 214.5 Points
|Over 214.5 points||-110||-110||-110|
|Under 214.5 points||-110||-110||-110|
Jamal Murray is the X-factor of Game 3, simple as that. In Game 1, he put up 26 points. But last time out, he added only 18 points, and it would’ve been worse if not for a few threes toward the end. As the team’s second-best player, Murray needs to be better to deliver Denver its first-ever NBA title.
Part of his Game 2 struggles go back to Spo’s decision to start Love. In doing so, he replaced Caleb Martin in the lineup. That also meant Butler was guarding Murray most of the night, and we all know the energy and toughness Butler brings every single play.
We’re favoring the under here. Denver’s supporting cast floundered in Game 2, and going on the road Wednesday probably doesn’t help matters. Expect a defensive-minded slugger to play out in Game 3.
|Denver spread (-2.5)||-110||-110||-110|
|Miami spread (+2.5)||-110||-110||-110|
On that note about the Nuggets being on the road, well, they haven’t exactly been road warriors this season. During the regular season, Denver went a meager 19-22 while away from its home arena. Yes, they beat the Lakers twice last series whilst away, but the trend still points downwards for them when traveling.
Our inkling is the Heat cover the spread on Wednesday. That’s not to say they’ll win either, but we’re confident the game is a nail-biter, which favors its 2.5-point underdog spread. Denver certainly has more talent, but Miami’s advantage in coaching and now being at home will make them a tough out every single game the rest of the way.
Prop: O/U Jimmy Butler Points
Here’s what most people are missing about the Finals so far: Butler has been underperforming through two games, particularly on offense. He’s mustered only 34 points total on under 40 percent shooting. Because of that, we’re intrigued by this player prop bet on Butler’s scoring total. Here’s how the best basketball betting sites have pegged the over/under on individual points:
|Over 25.5 points||-105||-105||-105|
|Under 25.5 points||-125||-125||-125|
Returning to South Beach will certainly help Butler pick up his scoring pace — and so does more familiarity with his opponents. Like Spo, Butler is a high-IQ player. He’ll figure you out, and we expect that to happen in Game 3. Take the over with confidence here.
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